Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Year With Thomas Merton - January 19

Reality and the Ordinary

Still very cold and bright.

The best thing about the retreat has been working in the pig barn and then walking back alone, a mile and a half, through the snow.

I think I have come to see more clearly and more seriously the meaning, or lack of meaning, in my life. How much I am still the same self-willed and volatile person who made such a mess of Cambridge. That I have not changed yet, down in the depths, or, perhaps yes, I have changed radically somewhere, yet I have still kept some of the old, vain, inconstant, self-centered ways of looking at things. And that the situation I am in now has been given me to change me, if I will only surrender completely to reality as it is given me by God and no longer seek in any way to evade it, even by interior reservations.

Here at the hermitage, in deep snow, everything is ordinary and silent. Return to reality and to the ordinary, in silence. It is always there, if you know enough to return to it.

What is not ordinary--the tension of meeting people, discussion, ideas. This too is good and real, but illusion gets into it. The unimportant becomes important. Words and images become more important than life.

One travels all over vast areas, sitting still in a room, and one is soon tired of so much traveling.

I need very much this silence and this snow. Here alone can I find my way because here alone the way is right in front of my face and it is God's way for me--there really is no other.

January 25 and 28, 1963, IV.293-95


  1. This time last year, many in Atlanta were in an enforced Sabbath, enforced by impassable snow and ice.

    1. le 22 septembre, tu m'as dit, "Tu m'as changee." Qu'est-ce que tu voulais dire? Cela m'a tenaillee pendant ces mois. Je ne t'ai donnee l'opportunite de l'expliquer.